Monday 20 December 2010

Brian Hanrahan RIP

I was sorry to learn of Brian Hanrahan's death today.  He contributed to the Essex Futures programme last year and made a valuable and memorable contribution.  He was also kind enough to make time to talk to me about the book I'm writing, purely on the basis of that one previous meeting.  He was obviously an outstanding journalist, but what I remember equally was his kind, unassuming and generous spirit.

May he rest in peace.

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Re-writing the story

The awayday yesterday went even better than I expected: the participants recognised some very fundamental issues that they need to address in terms of the purpose and effectiveness of their combined contribution to their organisation.

Prior to the day, there was a lot of frustration in all of the teams represented.  The distributed ones felt that the central team was imposing processes on them which were onerous and  frustrated those working at the front line; the central team felt overworked and under-appreciated, having to police a system to which they did not fully subscribe.

 A lot of the implicit blaming of each other drained away as they recognised their shared frustrations - and shared aspirations.  In dialogue, they have decided on a strategic shift to move away from fire-fighting to value-adding. They are also determined to renew their relationships with the rest of the organisation and re-write the story of their place and contribution within the organisation.

Recognising this will require more work, initially, in order to get the big benefits they are aiming for, there was nevertheless a real sense of energy and commitment to take the agenda forward.  And I am confident they will.

Saturday 11 December 2010

A great week

As well as a good day's coaching on Monday and module two of Essex Futures, which went very well on Thursday, I have had a series of fascinating interviews for my book.

This week I have seen Marina Taylor, Philippa Stokes, Tim Melville-Ross, Luke Johnson, Sir John Ashworth, Doug Richard and Merdith Belbin.  Each brought a unique perspective to bear on my project and all were valuable.  I continue to be delighted with how generous busy people are with their time and their ideas.

But as to what they've told me, you'll have to wait till I write the book and buy a copy!  All I can say is that if I do them, their stories and their insights justice, it will be a great read.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Staying busy...

Had a fascinating interview with Marina Taylor at Akzo Nobel today: she told me a recent true story which will make a great case study for the book (suitably anonymised of course).  And before that I was talking with Peter Block in the US (one of my favourite writers) and Chene Swart of South Africa, who offered a lot of valuable insights and encouragement.

Off to London tomorrow for three more interviews, then to Colchester for the next Essex Futures event, followed by another interview, then to Cambridge on Friday for a couple more interviews.

I am learning so much, meeting so many fascinating people, and generally enjoying the process so much that there's a real risk I'll prolong the interview stage for ever and never write the thing - except I have also promised so many people I will, as an insurance policy against that temptation!